Since the public announcement of its launch in October 2017, the response to the creation of the Australian Motor Racing Series (AMRS) has been overwhelming, with competitors and categories flocking to the newest national motor-racing series.
But how was the AMRS concept initially conceived, and where does it fit in the Australian motorsport landscape? We caught up with Series Manager Wayne Williams to find out.
To start off, tell us how the idea of the AMRS came about…
In my role as the operations manager at Winton Raceway, I deal with a lot of different state and national motorsport categories, and as you can imagine, category managers have very forthright opinions about what they expect at events!
From a lot of the conversations I had, it was clear there was room in the Australian marketplace for a national series delivering a professionally-run but affordable level of race meeting, with a focus on making the experience enjoyable for the competitors.
How did you get the AMRS off the ground?
Once we identified the space in the market, I sat down with our (Benalla Auto Club Group) CEO Chris Lewis-Williams and we did some number crunching to work out if it was financially feasible.
We put a business plan together and presented it to the BAC board, and they were very enthusiastic about it – they saw it as not only a golden opportunity for the club to promote more motorsport events, but also for the Australian Auto-Sport Alliance (AASA) to enhance its reputation as an efficient, high-value, safety conscious sanctioning body.
Since you launched the AMRS, how has the response been?
The response from categories has been nothing short of sensational.
When we put the initial business case together, we had a target list of categories we approached and they were all enthusiastic, but when we publicly announced the series was going ahead, we were contacted by a number of other categories that wanted to come on board.
One of the best things has been the variety and diversity of categories that will be part of the 2018 AMRS. We have a couple of start-up or developing categories, such as the RX8 Cup Series, that are launching themselves as part of the AMRS. We have several state-level categories, such as the TA2 Series, Miniature Race Cars and Legend Cars, that are using AMRS to progress to the national stage. And then we have a category like the Australian Formula Ford Championship – the second-longest standing national category in Australian motorsport history – that has chosen to start and end its 2018 season at AMRS rounds. That certainly gives us a lot of confidence in the product we’ve presented in the marketplace.
Who are the main personnel involved in running the series?
One of the priorities with the AMRS has been to ensure the competitor experience is consistent from event to event, so we will have a travelling circus of staff and officials who will follow the series around the country.
I’m very fortunate to be leading a dedicated and passionate team who are determined to ensure the AMRS is a success.
Many regular Winton competitors will be familiar with our event co-ordinator Sarah Ackerly – apart from being friendly, approachable and well-liked, Sarah is also very efficient so we’re thrilled to have her filling the role of race secretary.
Daryl McHugh will be the Clerk of Course for all six rounds of the series, and he comes with a wealth of experience officiating at state and national-level events over a number of years.
Keith McDonald will be the event supervisor while there will also be a core team of officials filling key roles such as scrutineering, recovery, timing and pit lane. Many of these officials have fine-tuned their craft as dedicated volunteers at Winton events, and we’re very grateful they are generously giving up their time to travel further afield.
One of the most attractive aspects of AMRS for competitors has been the inclusion of live streaming at every event, and this will be provided by Blend Line TV – Daniel Beckinsale has been involved in AV production of motorsport for a number of years now, and the quality of production has improved exponentially during the last couple of seasons. Commentator Lachlan Mansell’s voice is a familiar one for spectators at motorsport events all over the country and I know Lachy is very excited about calling the races for the on-track and live stream coverage at each event.
What are the main goals for the AMRS in the first year?
Because it’s a brand-new series, the first year is very much about ensuring all the competitors have fun, and spread the word amongst their fellow competitors. This will ensure that the categories running as part of the AMRS can grow and prosper, which will benefit the series as a whole.
A lot of hard work has gone into the series and there is still much to be done, but we can’t wait for the cars to hit the track for the season opener at Winton – it will be a very special moment for us all!